The start of the 2005-06 NBA campaign means it is time for yet another semi-annual editorial suggesting that Darko Milicic isn’t a complete bust. Though a comparison to Shawn Bradley might make you redefine “bust”. From the Detroit Free Press’ Drew Sharp.
The name Milicic isn’t necessarily Serbian for “mistake.”
Even though Darko Milicic has done little in two seasons with the Pistons, other NBA teams have made inquiries about his availability. They gauged the temperature of his discontent last season and during the summer, and the hotter it got, the more calls to Joe Dumars, the Pistons’ president of basketball operations.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of interest in Darko throughout the league,” Dumars said.
It isn’t outlandish to suggest that some teams still would have taken the enigma with the second pick in the 2003 draft, even with the foresight that Dwyane Wade would emerge as a game-changing star at Miami.
At least one Western Conference executive thinks so, all because of Darko’s upside.
When looking for comparisons to Milicic, the name Raef LaFrentz frequently comes up. LaFrentz was the third overall pick in 1998, and he is regarded as a steady, solid player, averaging 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds for his career.
And that’s probably the best career scenario for Milicic — solid and steady.
He made an impression as a shot-blocker in the just-completed exhibition season. Perhaps that makes Darko the second coming of Shawn Bradley, drafted second overall in 1993. And Bradley’s career can be defined as pedestrian at best.
A very concerned Kevin T. describes the passage below as “the two weirdest sentences I’ve ever read in Time Magazine”.
“Indeed, his only eccentricity, if it can be called that, is his extensive private library of adult videos. His refreshing ability to laugh self-deprecatingly about his porno collection, reporters say, is one reason why fans and even nonfans have taken to him so much. “
The NY Post’s Mark Hale reports that the Mets have been in contact with Billy Wagner’s agent, who claims his client “is definetley intrigued by the Mets” (which is a polite way of saying he’ll pitch for the Martians if the price is right).
Newsday’s David Lennon writes that Trevor Hoffman (hold on to your toilet seat) is also a possible addition.
Hoffman (above), who turned 38 last month, reportedly is seeking a three-year deal worth between $25 million and $27 million. Last week, the Padres offered two years for $10 million, and that may prompt Hoffman to try the open market.
“Trevor’s first choice has always been to remain a Padre. But it’s looking more and more like it won’t happen,” Rick Thurman, Hoffman’s agent, told The Associated Press. “Put it this way: Their offer made Trevor upset enough to have his locker cleaned out at the stadium.”
But it may take more than that for Hoffman to uproot his family from San Diego, where he has pitched since 1993, and the Mets, nearly 3,000 miles away on the other coast, would be a long shot. Not that he doesn’t fit their needs. Hoffman had 43 saves last season, with a 2.97 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings.
Given the risk inherent in making a $27 million investment in a 38 year old pitcher with one massive surgery/rehab already on his resume (one whom the Mariners are also interested in), I’m surprised New York seems completely opposed to Aaron Heilman as closer. Nor are we reading much about a pursuit of Eddie Guardado, though that could change.
From the Associated Press :
Five Muslim football fans were detained and questioned during a New York Giants-New Orleans Saints game because they were congregating near the main air intake duct for Giants Stadium, not because they were praying, an FBI spokesman told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Several of the fans were expected to detail their experience from the Sept. 19 game at an afternoon news conference in Manhattan. One of the men, along with his lawyer, said Tuesday the five were unfairly profiled and detained because they had been praying at the stadium, as their Muslim faith requires five times a day.
But Special Agent Steven Siegel told The Associated Press that the men aroused suspicion because they were congregating near the main air intake duct for the stadium. Former President Bush was on hand that night as part of a fundraising campaign he and former President Clinton were leading for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“You had 80,000 people there, Bush 41 was there, and you had a group of gentlemen gathering in an area not normally used by the public right near the main air intake duct for the stadium, and a food preparation facility,” Siegel said. “It was where they were, not what they were doing.”
One of the men, who asked not to be identified because he said he fears harassment from the incident, said he and the other four had no idea they were near an air intake.
“I don’t even know what an air duct looks like,” he said. “To me, it was just a wall.”
Jay Strell calls our attention to MLB’s efforts to peddle the Ozzieball shirt (above) to the nation’s youth. The sales pitch reads “support your favorite White Sox team manager by wearing this Ozzieball t-shirt from Majestic Athletic.”
That’s all very well and good, but what if your son or daughter’s favorite White Sox skipper is Jeff Torborg? What then?
Seems strange to me that in these highly politicized times, some t-shirts are worthy of mass boycotts and others raise nary an eyebrow.
Without the rings, that is.
From the Associated Press :
- Alex Rodriguez was cautioned by the New York Yankees that playing poker in illegal clubs could be dangerous and harmful to his image, according to a newspaper report.
Early last month, the Daily News reported the star slugger had attended games at an underground club with professional card player Phil Hellmuth.
Scott Boras, the third baseman’s agent, denied that the Yankees had warned his client.
“The Yankees have never addressed or spoken with me in regard to any off-field activities regarding Alex Rodriguez. And the Yankees have never spoken to Alex regarding any of his off-field activities,” Boras was quoted as saying in a story published Wednesday.
Art Schlichter, Pete Rose and Gabe Kaplan were unavailable for comment. Or perhaps no one called them.
From the Newark Star Ledger’s Joe Tyrell.
Former Nets star Jayson Williams has sold his sprawling Alexandria Township estate where he fatally shot a limousine driver three years ago for $8 million, a record for a single-family home in Hunterdon County.
John Lionetti of Colts Neck, owner of Lorca Petroleum Services in Elizabeth, obtained a $2 million mortgage last month from Williams and his wife, Tanya, to ease the purchase. Williams signed the paperwork on behalf of himself and his Wexford Properties on Oct. 13 in Beaufort County, S.C., where he and his wife own a home in Hilton Head.
Williams’ spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on the sale of the 27,000-square-foot estate, which was built in 1997 for $3 million by Williams and his contractor father,
The basketball star christened the rolling 65-acre property “Who Knew?” a reference to his rise from humble roots in a biracial family in New York City.
I’ve had a little bit of experience in selling property, both in this country and in the UK, so I can pass along a little tip that our Century 21 agent shared with us ; hiring Dwayne Schintzius to dig up any dogs he’s buried on the property can add millions to a home’s value.
Bucks 117, 76ers 108 (OT)
Though it was the aformentioned Bucks SG who sent this one to overtime with a spectacular game-tying 3 pointer with 0:016 remaining, Milwaukee’s mythical game ball has to go to T.J. Ford. The former Texas point guard (above, left), in his first game since suffering a spinal cord injury in ’03, had a near triple double (16 points, 14 assists, 9 boards) and looked the part of an All-Star running the Bucks’ offense.
Andrew Bogut, late 4th quarter blown alley-oop aside, didn’t have a poor debut, either (13 points, 3 blocks, 9 rebounds).
Sadly for Philly, opening night showcased a typical Allen Iverson performance; 35 points on 28 shots from the floor, and far too many occasions where his teammates stood around watching him launch something from long range. That many of said shots go in is besides the point — far too often, the Sixers are reduced to a one or two man show (and in fairness, A.I. set up Chris Webber nicely on multiple occasions). Whether or not voyerism when they’ve got the ball leads to indifference defensively, I can’t say for sure, but the Sixers shouldn’t be blowing a last minute lead at home.
If I’d been able to take advantage of the Goner Bulletin Board during my bachelor days…..I’d have gotten as much action as AC Green.
Possibly less. (the former link courtesy Kevin T., who needs no such advice).
Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News was just on Boston’s WEEI and stated (take this for what it is worth) that the chances of Theo Epstein being named the new LA GM by the end of the week were better than 50/50.
Presumably, Epstein would not be Tommy Lasorda’s first, second or third choice. Given everything we’ve seen going down in Chavez Ravine over the past year, it is equally hard to understand why said position would appeal to Epstein.
Having no inside information of my own, I can only wonder why it is so hard to believe that Epstein might in fact, spend 12 months or more outside of baseball. Is it also completely impossible to envision a scenario in which Epstein returns to Fenway?
The Sporting News’ Ken Rosenthal is reporting that former Seattle/Toronto/Baltimore GM Pat Gillick has taken himself out of consideration for the Los Angeles vacancy.
Gillick, 68, is on the verge of getting the Phillies’ job over former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker, who is the frontrunner to be the senior consultant the Devil Rays are seeking.
The Dodgers had targeted Gillick as a possible replacement for Paul DePodesta, whom they fired Saturday. Their next step could be to pursue Theo Epstein, who resigned as Red Sox GM Monday. Nationals GM Jim Bowden is interested in the Dodgers’ opening, and Padres GM Kevin Towers might be as well.
Another possibility would be Bobby Valentine, who likely would require both manager and GM responsibilities to leave the Chibe Lotte Marines, the team he recently led to the Japan Series title. Valentine is earning more than $3 million per year as a manager in Japan and could be offered an even more lucrative extension soon.
Now playing : The Sick Things – “Committed To Suicide”
From the Whittier Daily News’ Scott Wolf.
USC tailback LenDale White quit the football team and shouted profanities from the roof of a nearby building Monday night before fighting with a staff member.
At least that was the joke at the conclusion of Monday’s practice, as a dummy of White (above) got thrown off the roof and became involved in a scuffle with football equipment coordinator Tino Dominguez.
It was a Halloween joke pre-planned by USC coach Pete Carroll and reminiscent of a 2001 incident, when Dominguez threw a “spy” off the roof of an adjacent building the week of the UCLA game.
This prank was far more elaborate, as White left midway through practice and said he quit the team. Several assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, were unaware of the gag and Kiffin yelled at White as he left the field.
“(Kiffin) said, `Get your butt off the field,’ and I said, `I’ll walk when I feel like walking,”‘ White said.
“Carroll said, `Hey, 21, what are you complaining about?’ and I said, `I don’t get enough carries.”‘
White left the field in a cart and threw his gloves into the bushes in disgust, then reappeared about 20 minutes later as Carroll addressed the team.
“I was telling them we can’t let distractions get in our way,” Carroll said. “That we’ve lost guys before. We’ve won with them and without them.”
Some members of the team actually believed White got thrown from the roof.
“That was horrible,” linebacker Oscar Lua said. “What was that about? I think (linebacker) Rey (Maualuga) is still on the field dead.”
Carroll first wanted tailback Reggie Bush to play the part.
“I said, `Hell no’,” Bush said. “Besides, LenDale is more believable.”
P – Kenny Rogers, Texas
C – Jason Varitek, Boston
1B – Mark Teixeira, Texas
2B – Orlando Hudson, Toronto
3B – Eric Chavez, Oakland
SS – Derek Jeter, New York (cue up sound affects of a major coughing fit)
OF – Torri Hunter, Minnesota
OF – Vernon Wells, Toronto
OF – Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle
World-class Lt. Dangle-baiter TJ Simers of the LA Times kicks it into overdrive today when listening to Tommy Lasorda’s bullshit.
It’s one thing to tell folks they have a better shot of getting into heaven rooting for the Dodgers, quite another to proclaim McCourt the savior.
“I love the guy,” Lasorda said, “and you can believe me as sure as I am sitting here and talking to you right now.”
“You keep talking like that,” I said, “and if McCourt continues to flounder, he could very well take your legacy down with him. No doubt Dodger fans want to hear Lasorda talking about better days ahead, but are you sure they want you promising McCourt will be the one who is going to deliver them?”
“I agree with everything he’s done,” Lasorda said. “Einstein once said an ounce of loyalty is worth more than a pound of knowledge.”
That would explain why he’s ignoring the facts.
“Hey, I believe the majority of Dodger fans think the same way as I do,” Lasorda said. “They believe he’s doing something to help this organization be successful.”
I said something about his being out to lunch, and as soon as I mentioned lunch Lasorda seemed to perk up. But I wanted to know whether he was supporting McCourt now because McCourt put him back on top of the Dodger mountain.
“Exactly,” he admitted. “I was hurt, and [respect] is what Frank gave me, and why I love the man.”
It’s a hard sell, though, telling fans McCourt is on the ball when evidence suggests otherwise. But I commended Lasorda on delivering his blarney with such passion, and he appeared surprised.
“I’m sincere,” he said. “Hook me to a lie detector. I’ll bet my lungs I’m telling the truth. I love Frank and Jamie McCourt. Set up a lie detector, and when I pass, you apologize to them for challenging my loyalty and love for them.”
I said I’d find a polygraph, and ask about pitching to Jack Clark and trading Paul Konerko. And if I do have to apologize, I’ll give the McCourts a call, and never get a return call.
“You’re really something,” Lasorda huffed. “I read those letters in the paper about you, and it’s not love. You know what, I might be the only friend you have.”
Congratulations to the Houston Chronicle’s John Lopez for raising a point all too similar to one made in this forum countless times : that perhaps the Houston Astros would be better off if Roger Clemens’ $18 million salary was applied towards a position player or 3 or 4 in 2006.
Flagrant Foul-machine Danny Fortson (shown above, being groped by men), as quoted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Jim Moore.
WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes admits she’s gay. And yesterday Fortson said he would have a problem with a gay teammate.
“I sure would,” Fortson said. “I wouldn’t want to be on that team. It wouldn’t be a good idea.
“As athletes, we still have a grade-school mentality where we pick on people a little bit. It’s not going to work with us. I don’t think it’s very acceptable behavior for men as far as I’m concerned.”
Fortson also said “he wouldn’t doubt it” if there were a gay player in the NBA but hopes he’s not a Sonic.
“That would be a bad deal,” Fortson said. “He might want to keep that one in the closet.”
From the Canadian Press :
Pavel Bure was named general manager of Russia’s Olympic hockey team Tuesday after announcing his retirement as a player.
The Russian Rocket, felled by serious knee injuries, announced his decision at a news conference in Moscow. Alexander Steblin, the head of the Russian Hockey Federation, announced that Bure would assemble the team headed to February’s Turin Olympics.
“I can promise you one thing, from now on you won’t see such a mess with the national team that you’ve seen here before,” Bure told reporters.
“You won’t see grouchy players here anymore. Only those who really want to play for Russia will be called into the team.”
On what might’ve been a good day for the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy to lay low, he’s predictably embraced the spotlight.
Blame me if it makes you feel any better, though it seems pretty ridiculous that Theo would break away from a man he worked with for 14 years because of a few lines he read in a column in the Sunday Globe.
There’s been a lot of talk about cartels, smear campaigns, and taking sides, but the fact is that only two men know the truth about the proposed Rockies trade: Lucchino and Epstein. And both know that one of them is spinning a story in an effort to make himself look good and the other look bad. The Epstein camp had its version out there all summer. Lucchino’s camp responded Sunday. Still, no one has disputed the version put forth by the Lucchino camp, and one could view that scenario in a positive fashion — an example of two men who can make things work without worrying about who gets credit or blame. Couldn’t we say the story illustrates harmony rather than acrimony?
I’m still hoping that it can be fixed. Theo knows everyone in Sox Nation wants him back. Lucchino wants him back. They’re both smart people. They’ve been through a ton of life experiences in Baltimore, San Diego, and Boston. Maybe Henry can broker a truce. If Sox fans had their way, they’d watch Henry fire Lucchino and bring back Theo.
From the Desert News’ Linda Hamilton.
Former Utah Jazz assistant coach Gordon Chiesa has resigned his first assistant’s position with the New Jersey Nets, citing family reasons.
Chiesa (above, right), 55, a New Jersey native, left Utah June 9 after 16 seasons as the No. 2 assistant on coach Jerry Sloan’s staff, saying the move up to first assistant would be important as he pursues an NBA head coaching position. He was replaced a few months later by the rehiring of Scott Layden, once Utah’s basketball operations chief.
Word in New Jersey is that Chiesa’s family may have been unhappy there. One of his teenage sons was born in Utah, and both sons lived most of their lives here.
Though I’m sure the cultural chasm between Utah and NJ takes some getting used to, surely Chiesa could’ve assured the boy that they’d be moving to Brooklyn shortly. Which as you all know, has long been considered the Salt Lake City of the East.
(M.E.S., ponders the rise and fall of Dick Trickle)
As you might expect, I really have zero interest in this story and it was just an excuse for the headline. To those of you who enjoy watching cars-go-’round-in-a-circle, my most sincere apologies.
From the NY Daily News’ Adam Rubin.
Rafael Furcal, a rifle-armed shortstop who filed for free agency yesterday, would be willing to play second base in Flushing, his agent, Paul Kinze, said yesterday. The Atlanta-based Kinzer said Furcal’s preference is to remain a shortstop, but said about the Mets: “I think they’ll be a player. … He would be willing to explore it.”
The Mets are expected to pursue Furcal and other second-base options, despite Kaz Matsui having one year and $8 million remaining on his contract and rookie Anderson Hernandez going 11-for-24 with seven RBI so far in winter ball.
Unlike Matsui, a natural shortstop who joined the Mets with little experience elsewhere in the infield, Furcal is comfortable at second base. Kinzer estimated Furcal has played the position at least five years in winter ball in order to allow mentor Neifi Perez – another free agent this winter – to play shortstop with the Dominican club Escogido.
If this is Roy Keane’s final season with Manchester United, at least he’s going out in a blaze of glory. From Football365.
The impression of Manchester United as a club in crisis gained further credence on Monday night when Roy Keane’s blunt assessment of Saturday’s 4-1 humiliation at Middlesbrough was pulled off the MUTV schedules.
Keane (above) carried out his brief to analyse the Riverside debacle in the regular ‘Plays the Pundit’ programme at United’s Carrington training ground this lunchtime.
It is thought the veteran Irishman, currently sidelined with a broken foot, offered his usual blunt assessment of United’s tepid performance, but it appears Keane’s condemnation was too vicious for some senior members of the Red Devils’ hierarchy, who ordered the half-hour programme to be scrapped.
Instead, MUTV executives were forced to show academy action, offering no explanation for the precise reason behind the swift programme change..
Matchday 4 in the Champions League will feature the following clashes for US idiot box devotees ;
Real Betis v. Chelsea (ESPN2)
Liverpool v. Anderlecht (Setanta US).
That said, a global glamor tie of crucial importance will take place at Vicarage Road, where visitors QPR, 8th in the Coca Cola Championship, take on 4th place Watford at 7:45pm. Which gives me another 12 hours or so to come up with gratuitious, negative references to Elton John, or at least a way to work the phrase “Love Lies Bleeding” into a headline.
…but with a younger cast. From the NY Times’ Robert Levine.
(the Hanson Brothers, before it all went wrong. Actually, long before it all went right, too. Pic courtesy Kim Fowley.net)
Plenty of bands have written songs complaining about their frustration with record labels. But Hanson, the band of three brothers that helped usher in a teenage pop craze with the 1997 hit “MMMBop,” has made an entire documentary film about its dismal experience on the label Island Def Jam.
Originally signed to Mercury Records, Hanson found itself with Island Def Jam as a result of major label mergers. In the fall of 2000, Hanson began recording what was to be its third major-label album of new material and hired a director, Ashley Greyson, to film the process. “About eight months in, we realized there was going to be more difficulty than we thought,” said Taylor Hanson, 22.
The movie, “Strong Enough to Break,” follows the band’s disagreements with label executives – over the choice of producer and the need for an upbeat single, among other things – and ultimately its decision to leave the label and found its own, 3CG Records. The album, “Underneath,” finally came out on Hanson’s own label in April 2004 and sold 130,000 copies, a healthy figure for an independent release.
Between concerts on its current tour, the group is screening the film at colleges. The brothers, who have made it into their 20′s without attracting much attention from tabloids, say they would like to educate students about the music business; they take questions after the screenings. Of course, Hanson is also hoping to arouse interest in its new live album and its current tour. “We’re not unaware that we’re reconnecting with people and a few of them might come to the concert,” said Zac Hanson, who is 20.
From the AP:
Closer Braden Looper’s $5.5 million option was declined Monday by the New York Mets, who will pay the reliever a $250,000 buyout.
New York also exercised right-hander Steve Trachsel’s $2.5 million option and declined a $4 million option on first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who gets a $450,000 buyout.
And now the attempts to overpay BJ Ryan or Trevor Hoffman can begin in earnest.
The White Sox have exercised a $1.2 million option on reliever/Journey lover Cliff Politte, along with declining the club option for ’06 on noted paleontologist Carl Evertt.
From the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman :
Theo Epstein stunned the Red Sox and the baseball world this afternoon by walking away from his job as general manager.
Just hours before his deal was set to expire at midnight, Epstein told his bosses and associates at the Red Sox™ Yawkey Way offices that he had decided not to accept a three-year deal worth $1.5 million a year, an extension for the contract he signed on Nov. 25, 2002.
Epstein had done some agonizing soul-searching the past few days, torn between staying at the job he had always coveted since his childhood days in Brookline and leaving because of intra-organizational politics and power struggles that he ultimately decided he could not live with any longer.
Epstein had come close to agreeing to a deal Saturday evening but had not officially conveyed acceptance of it. On Sunday, he began having serious misgivings about staying on. A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday™s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed — in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino™s favor. Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino.
Interestingly, Toronto’s J.P. Riccardi is not included on Silverman’s short list of candidates for Boston’s new opening.